African Premier

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Harmon Poole of Connecticut began corresponding with John Withee after reading about John’s collecting in Yankee Magazine in 1977. Harmon Poole hoped, at age 80, to continue gardening and to assist with the Wanigan Associates project. Late in 1977, Harmon donated ‘African Premier’ to John Withee’s collection.This variety was originally purchased in Nairobi, Kenya and brought back to the United States by Harmon’s grandchildren. In John Withee’s Heirloom Beans catalog, it was described as originating from the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. When John Withee donated samples of his entire collection to Seed Savers Exchange in 1981, he knew it would continue to be maintained and shared. Today, Seed Savers Exchange continues this legacy of sharing through the annual Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook, a compilation of the varieties that members grow, steward, and are willing to share. The Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook has connected gardeners across the United States and provided several other sanctuaries for the ‘African Premier’ bean. Today, samples of this variety have been widely distributed being grown and shared from Maine to Oregon, Wisconsin to Arkansas, Kentucky to Utah, and even Canada.